_SBCC steering committee member Dulce Garcia, executive director of Border Angels, expresses her concern about the precarious situation of migrants in the El Chaparral encampment in Tijuana as government crackdowns and deadly heat waves rise.
_We were encouraged to learn that the Biden Administration has restored access to asylum for those experiencing domestic violence and those whose family members were persecuted.
_During this PRIDE and Immigrant Heritage Month, please consider signing this petition to free all transgender people, people living with HIV, and people with medical conditions from ICE custody; if you’re in DC please also consider joining Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Casa Ruby, Mijente, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, and Transgender Law Center in a procession, Wednesday, June 23, starting at noon at National City Church, 5 Thomas Cir NW, that will honor Victoria Arellano (¡presente!), Roxsana Hernandez (¡presente!), and Johana Medina (¡presente!)_three trans women who died in ICE custody.
_Heinous abuse. This week, we stood by Janine Bouey, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer and U.S. veteran, who was subjected to heinous abuse at the hands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the Otay Mesa port of entry. Janine, who is a Black woman, filed an official complaint against DHS claiming sexual assault and racial profiling by CBP agents. On June 16, 2020, Janine was returning from a dentist appointment in Tijuana, Mexico and when crossing back to the United States, she was singled out by a CBP officer while waiting in line (watch press conference here). She was the only person to be pulled from the line for questioning. The officer asked for Janine’s home address even though he was in possession of her license. By the way, in case you’re not from the border, it is common for borderlanders to cross back and forth for dentist and doctor appointments, to shop, or to visit family and friends. The officer escorted her to a nearby building where she was assaulted by CBP officers. Her experience and training as a law enforcement officer informed her understanding that the actions taken by the CBP officers were well out of bounds of normal protocol. Janine filed a complaint with DHS about the officers’ actions shortly after the incident. But, to her knowledge, no disciplinary action was taken and the officers involved in the incident remain at work. Janine noted that what happened to her, “Was both shocking and frightening. It was the most frightening day of my life.” (Quoted in this same article is SBCC steering committee member Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego). It’s way past time to #EndCBPabuse.
_Hope vs Hate. If you had an opportunity to tune in to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “HR 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021,” it was abundantly clear that some senators stood on the side of brokering hope for DACA, TPS and DED holders while others simply stood on the side of hate. If you haven’t watched it, brace yourself. It was gut-wrenching to listen to the xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and downright inhumane tropes shamefully used by_mostly Republican_senators to inspire fear of immigrant communities (particularly of Black and Brown immigrant communities), their insistence on painting immigrants in false hues of criminality, and their tone-deaf persistence in conflating the current challenges at our southern border with the much-needed relief for immigrant youth_btw, one out of five Dreamers live in our beautiful and vibrant borderlands. Such tripe and bogus facts came from haters on a day, June 15, that we celebrated the ninth anniversary of the DACA program_the only immigration relief we’ve seen in the last three decades. And these senators spoke so ill of our beloved immigrant community in front of Dr. Manuel Bernal Mejia, Emergency Medicine Resident and DACA recipient, and Mr. Rony Ponthieux, registered nurse and Temporary Protected Status holder_both of whom represent the best of all of us: health care professionals who served communities across the country as essential workers in the times of COVID-19. We typically don’t take partisan sides, but this behavior was outright revolting and despicable. C’mon. Instead. Be Bold. Be Brave. Turn the page on fear mongering and seize the moment to ensure that our immigrant youth, farmworkers, TPS holders, and essential workers have a pathway to citizenship. Now. #WeAreHome #WelcomeWithDignity
_Gravy trains. Check out these elected officials who choose to use hateful rhetoric as a shameful way to keep the gravy train going. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced their support for more hateful border wall construction_despite the fact that border walls have been proven to be lethal; harmful to wildlife and the environment; rip homes and lands away from private property owners; and a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Also despicable is the rhetoric they used to justify more wall (i.e., as a way to address dubious increased crime rates allegedly caused by migrants). You read that right, they are blaming migrants who are expelled almost as soon as they are apprehended (thanks to Title 42). The truth is that crime rates are NOT increasing in the border region_as our colleagues in Laredo point out; border communities and large border cities, like San Diego and El Paso, consistently rank as among the safest in the nation. The hate and fallacy-filled rhetoric used to justify more construction is especially offensive given that the Governor knows better; Abbott apologized for using harmful campaign rhetoric after the El Paso Walmart mass shooting event that killed 23 people. Adding insult to injury, this recently released GAO report concludes that the Army Corp of Engineers rushed to spend $4.3 billion of the Pentagon’s diverted funds by awarding noncompetitive construction contracts and allowing contractors to start work before finalizing terms, like construction costs. Haste makes taxpayer dollars waste. Meanwhile, President Biden is returning $2 billion_that the previous administration raided in an effort to build more wall_back to the Pentagon for key military construction projects. Also on the plus side of border wall news, we want to send a big shoutout to Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, for issuing a great statement on the GAO decision determining that President Biden’s order to pause border wall construction was, in fact, legal. His statement noted that, “. . . the previous Administration’s careless rush to push wall construction was never about border security - it was a waste and did not secure the border.” Amen to that. We need to rethink our borders and #RevitalizeNotMilitarize.
border_lines is published every Friday for your reading pleasure. If you’d like to submit an item for inclusion, please email Vicki B. Gaubeca at [email protected], by Wednesday COB. The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.